Daily Cubs Minors Recaps: Conway debut impressive; Schwarber plays LF; Bryant has day off, wins anyway

Daily Cubs Minors Recaps: Conway debut impressive; Schwarber plays LF; Bryant has day off, wins anyway
Josh Conway

The big news today was that the Cubs signed 2 of the 3 high upside high school pitchers they selected (Carson Sands and Justin Steele) and will have at least $1M more to sign the 3rd, Dylan Cease.

And just to show you how good Kris Bryant, he wins stuff even when the Smokies have a day off.  He won the Southern League All-Star Game HR derby.  Congrats!

On with the recap...

Sacramento 5 - Iowa 1

  • Chris Rusin worked 6 innings and threw strikes, walking only one, but he got lit up for 13 hits and 5 runs (4 earned) as he fell to 4-9 with a 4.02 ERA,
  • Frank Batista finished up with 2 scoreless innings.  Undersized and max effort with a low 90s FB, avg slider, and average command, he isn't your typical scout's dream -- but he gets results and he has been doing it for the past few years.  He dropped his ERA to 3.86.
  • Ryan Kalish hit a solo HR to account for the Iowa scoring.
  • Chris Valaika doubled twice in 4 ABs,  The stockily built infielder is hitting .290/.355/.419 on the year with 5 HRs.

Tampa 7 - Daytona 2

  • Justin Amlung hasn't fared as well at Daytona as he did in Kane County.  He went just 3 innings and walked 3, allowed 6 hits and 4 runs, falling to 0-2 with a 7.88 ERA.
  • Jose Rosario threw 3 innings and allowed 2 runs.  He has always been able to strike hitters out with his 91-94 mph fastball and occasionally good slider, but he has also had trouble throwing strikes,  He has a 9.9 Ks per 9 IP rate while walking 4.7 -- but in his last 4 outings he has walked 1 and struck out 18, including no walks and 6 Ks tonight.  He has shown better command out of the bullpen,walking 3 and striking out 23 in 14.1 innings,  with a a 2.2 GO/AO ratio, yet he has put up a much higher ERA of 6.91 while posting a 3.99 ERA as a starter despite 20 walks and 25 Ks and a 1.1 GO/AO ratio as a starter.  Odd splits but I am more encouraged by his potential out of the pen.
  • Zach Godley struck out the side in his only inning while walking one.  He has lowered his ERA to 5.40 but has a 1.59 ERA in his last 7 outings with 5 walks and 12 Ks in 11.1 innings.
  • Not much offense except for the still-hot Willson Contreras, who hit his first FSL HR and raised his line to .287/.326/.393.  Solid numbers and I think he can raise that walk rate and slugging pct, to make it even better,  He has hit .359 with a .407 OBP since the end of April.

Tri-City 4 - Boise 3

  • It was great to see Josh Conway on the mound.  The talented RHP out of Coastal Carolina was a steal for the Cubs in the 4th round despite needing TJ surgery.  Conway has had some unfortunate setbacks since then but finally hit the mound today and threw 3 scoreless innings, walking none and striking out 3.  If he's healthy, he should move quickly.  When Conway is healthy he has a mid 90s fastball and one of the better sliders in the organization.
  • The bullpen struggled with Josh Davis blowing the save and giving up the tying run and then Frank Carillo losing it in the 10th inning.  Neither pitcher was particularly bad, (2 IP, 1 R, 1BB, 3Ks for Davis, 2 IP, 1 R, oBB, O Ks for Carillo) but just gave up ill-timed runs.
  • Jeffrey Baez didn't get a hit but got on base 3 times with 2 walks and an HBP and then wreaked his usual havoc on the bases, stealing 2 bases, giving him 5 on the year while scoring a run.
  • Oliver Zapata doubled and walked, driving in a run.  Zapata played at Kane County and was more of a 4th OF'er there.  He's a bit of a grinder with some skills but he was passed by more highly regarded prospects.
  • Kyle Schwarber made his debut in LF and chipped in a pair of hits and an RBI.  He is now 9 for his first 16  (.563) with 2 HRs -- but his stats actually went down with today's merely good performance.
  • Rashad Crawford doubled, singled and drove in a run.  He's hitting .333 over his first 3 games.





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  • fb_avatar

    Cubs are starting to build up some nice pitching inventory. Love the addition of the two lefties. Not sure any of them are true ace material, but if you can run out a rotation of 2's and 3's 1 through 5 you can do worse. Especially considering the type of offense the cubs project to have soon and a bullpen that's developing to be among the better young stuff bullpens in all of MLB. Conway may be a part of that mix as well in the future too. Good to see Godley getting back on track. Hopefully Amlung settles in and has the same kind of bounce back as a starter as Godley is having as a reliever.

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    In reply to Johnny Hatelak:

    Boy the marlins have a fantastic young bullpen too. I feel the marlins and cubs are going to be coming back to relevancy at about the same time. We have more resources for free agents though. Speaking of the marlins, anyone else feel their ballpark looks like there should be a Brazilian Carnivál there at all times. Too much

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    In reply to Melancubby:

    Yes they do. I think MLB in general is putting out these 6 deep bullpens of cannon armed pitchers. Command and secondaries are the key to being good or bad though.

  • In reply to Johnny Hatelak:

    I agree that 2's and 3's could get you to the playoffs, but I am not sure you would do well there, but I agree it would be nice to get to competative.

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    In reply to disappointed:

    Exactly. I have said before that a rotation of #3's will get you to the playoffs. However, with most teams using three man rotations in the postseason, you need an ace type pitcher to advance, and preferably two if you want to have any chance of winning a WS

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    In reply to disappointed:

    I think w/a great bullpen you can. Like the Nasty boy Reds did it, or even the 2005 Sox. They didn't have a true ace. Buhrle was a 2 all day IMO.

  • In reply to Johnny Hatelak:

    I particularly like adding young projectable lefties. Rodon was a 16th round pick out of HS and then went to NC State and was throwing 97 within a year. Both Steele and Sands have normal projections of #2 or #3, but also have a potential upside of more due to being young.

  • John, How did Schwaber look in left?

  • In reply to CubsBuck22:

    He didn't have a lot of plays in LF yesterday. I think he had like 5 plays only one was a flyball. But no errors.

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    In reply to KGallo:

    I can see him being the backup catcher/everyday left fielder. Catching once a week or so to give whoever our future catcher will be a breather. I'm not sold on Castillo yet. I'd love a catcher like Jason Kendall back in his prime or posey. Nice OBP who can hit 2nd or so.

  • In reply to Melancubby:

    Zagunis has an excellent chance of becoming the Cubs everyday catcher. Very good player great role player.

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    Still very high on Conway. Remember back in Extended ST a while back when AZ Phil repeatedly wrote that he saw a potential TOR arm everyone Conway pitched.

    He latest injury was more freak accident than anything and non-profit related so hopefully the Cubs decide stretch him out again at some point.

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    In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Meant non-arm related. Autocorrect.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    That makes more sense. I mean I would have been great to hear that he has high character, but nobody wants charity-related injuries.

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    In reply to KC Cubs Fan:

    Lmaooooooo yeah had to put a fix on that one XD

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Maybe he blew out his elbow hammering nails at a habitat for humanity?

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    In reply to Cub Fan Dan:


  • Jeff Baez sounds like he is going to be fun to watch.

    Schwarber, like Bryant, does well even on his off days.

  • Posters always want to compare Schwarber and Bryant. I'm not sure that it's fair to put those kinds of expectations on Kris.

  • In reply to 44slug:


  • Any news on how A. Alcantara looked in his 3 days in CF? Seems like he could replace some of Bonafacio's versatility.

    And, How much longer until AA is called up to replace either Coghlan (.192, 4 pitch K last night) or Barney (.180, 3 pitch K last night )?

  • In reply to DropThePuck:

    They aren't goign to call up Alcantara because Coghlan and Barney are bad. They will call him up when he is ready. The only way they will bring him up before then is if there is a rash of injuries (kind of how Lake was called up last year).

  • John or Mike...any word on Fujikawa's rehab?

  • In reply to copinblue:

    According to AZ Phil he's been throwing in extended ST games for about a month, but he has been taking it really slow and hasn't come close to pitching back to back games or anything. My guess would be post all star break.

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    In reply to copinblue:

    Haven't seen anything of late. I'm just assuming he'll never pitch for the Cubs again.

  • In reply to copinblue:
    Jun 5, 2014 - RHRP Kyuiji Fujikawa (Cubs MLB 60-day DL - 2013 TJS rehab) threw .... (May 2013 TJS) retired all three men he faced (K-swinging, F-8, 3-1),

  • Cubs are 20-22 since April. Things are not as bleak as they seem. April was just beyond horrid.

  • In reply to Tinker Evers Chance:

    They are 16-12 since mid-May, 9-6 in June, which is tied for 2nd best in the NL.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    It might make it tempting to still sign Samardzija. Jeff and his agent know these numbers too. We're maybe not so far away from making a run next year.

  • In reply to Tinker Evers Chance:

    There is another larger offer out there from the Cubs. I'm guessing the Cubs will still increase it one more time depending on possible trade scenarios. They are just opening things up again to feel out Shark.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    This keeps up and it won't be long before people are complaining about the resultant crappy draft position.

  • Why not give Valiaka a try on the MLB team? I know he is playing 1B at Iowa, but i thought he was listed as 2B and I think I have seen him play 3B at Iowa.

  • In reply to disappointed:

    He's not on the 40 man roster. They could certainly make room for him as there is a number of bad players on the roster but at this point there really isn't much reason to do it given that they want to carry 13 pitchers on the 25 man roster.

    He'll only have a chance in the second half once some of the trades go through and/or they finally give up on Barney/Olt.

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    In reply to disappointed:

    I've seen him play SS twice here in Des Moines.

  • In reply to Phil James:

    This question is more of, I am tired of watching anyone not named Castro, Rizzo, or Valbuena in the line-up. You only have to watch or listen to every other or every third inning with this team.

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    In reply to disappointed:

    We'll likely see Logan Watkins before we see Valaika. Watkins has played almost everwhere on the field this year.

  • In reply to Phil James:

    I agree with you. In my opinion Watkins has a real value as a left handed hitting everyday utility guy. I think a lot of guys confuse guys like him with Valaika's of baseball. Valaika is what is known in baseball as a Triple A player. This is not a rap on him as players like him have a lot of value to organizations in helping to develop the true prospects.

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